The unmatched legacy and dominance achieved in the Indian Premier League by Mumbai Indians will be put to test by Shreyas Iyer and Co, who will lead a passionate-but-unpredictable Delhi Capitals into the final of the 2020 edition in Dubai on Tuesday.
After a playoffs race that went to the wire, we are finally down to two teams. IPL’s most successful skipper Rohit Sharma will be itching to win his fifth title as captain after a tough couple of weeks on the personal front while the Capitals, a team that had flattered to deceive for a dozen editions, will finally have a chance of realising its potential and erasing years of heartbreak.
Despite their contrasting routes to get here, the two most consistent teams are in the final. Mumbai reached the summit winning 10 out of their 15 games while Capitals, despite a late slump, managed to triumph in nine out of their 16 games.
Few teams that have shown the flair and balance that makes the Mumbai Indians so scary. Sample this statistic: in all, their players have hit 130 sixes compared to Capitals’ 84.
MI’s batting has been scary good in the tournament.
Quinton de Kock’s panache has been a ready foil to Rohit Sharma’s style. Rohit has struggled for form in the tournament’s second half and proving a point about his hamstring injury would also be on the Indian opener’s mind.
Suryakumar Yadav’s epic “I am there” gesture after a league game against RCB is now a part of the MI folklore.
Ishan Kishan may be short in stature but he has managed to hit an astounding 29 sixes (most in the tournament) while Kieron Pollard is a bonafide legend with 190 plus strike-rate.
If Kagiso Rabada (29 wickets) and Anrich Nortje (20 wickets) get rid of this lot, DC will have to deal with the Pandya brothers – the cool Krunal and the flamboyant Hardik – both of whom are imposing and capable of striking it big.
For Delhi, Shikhar Dhawan (603 runs), who has enjoyed his best IPL, will have to do something out of the ordinary to tackle the yorkers from Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult’s late swing will be a challenge as well (assuming the Kiwi pacer is declared fit). In Qualifier 1, the top three of Delhi’s lineup were dismissed on zero.
In the three contests this season, Mumbai Indians have blown away Capitals in one-sided affairs but all will come to naught if Iyer can ensure that his team wins the final.
The second qualifier showed that they have somewhat found their ideal combination with Marcus Stoinis’ all-round game (352 runs and 12 wickets) and ability to open the innings bringing in the required balance.
Shimron Hetmyer’s six-hitting prowess will also be required considering that Iyer and Rishabh Pant haven’t exactly fired for the better part of the tournament.
Another big factor for the Capitals could be off-spinner R Ashwin’s quality as a Powerplay operator.
A crafty Ashwin can always alter the length and check how much of an impact his bowling would have on Rohit’s hamstring if he tries to dance down the track.
The sub-plots and little battles within are going to be enticing as well.
|Mat||MI wins||DC wins|
|MI vs DC||27||15||12|
Nortje, Ashwin vs MI top order
If Mumbai’s top-order gets them off to a good start, they become unstoppable given the depth of their batting order. But stopping the top-order has been anything but easy this year. Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav have been in sublime form while Ishan Kishan has found ways to make himself more than just useful this season. Nortje has been quick but he has been expensive. Ashwin has had his moments but he will have to be at his best too in the powerplay.
Bumrah, Boult vs DC top order
For DC’s top-order, the challenge is a very different one. It is more about survival. Can they survive Boult and Bumrah? If they can, then Dhawan has shown some very good form to carry on and make a big score (all or nothing). He can surely take the game away from Mumbai. Marcus Stoinis, in the opener’s position, will also be looking to make the most of the opportunity. Surely they can’t afford be 0/3 again.
Rabada vs Pollard, Hardik
In the death overs, MI are unstoppable largely due to Pollard and Hardik. They have the two highest strike-rates in the season respectively and clear the boundary lines with ease. In Rabada, Delhi have a classy weapon to counter them but it will be anything but easy. He will have to bring all his variations to play and nail his yorkers if he wants to get rid of these two early.
Ishan Kishan: Coming into the season, most expected him to be a filler. He wasn’t even in the first playing XI. But he has announced himself as a bonafide star. In the past, he was mostly a leg-side hitter but this season, he has added some off-side finesse to his game and it has made a huge difference. He has hit 29 sixes this season – the most by any player in the league. Tough to stop once he gets going.
Marcus Stoinis: Mostly a journeyman in the IPL till now, he has worked wonders for DC this season. And he has done it all – scored runs at a good strike-rate, taken wickets and fielded well too. He is the all-in kind of guy that Ricky Ponting loves having in his team. The final will be an opportunity for Stoinis to really make it his season.
Previous meetings in IPL 2020: MI lead DC 3-0
Incidentally in IPL 2019, CSK came into the final with a 0-3 record against MI and lost. In IPL 2018, SRH came into the final with a 0-3 record against CSK and lost. Will Delhi be able to avoid a hat-trick of 4-0s?
Road to the final
MI's road to the final
|MI vs CSK||19 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI lost by 5 wickets|
|KKR vs MI||23 Sep, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 49 runs|
|RCB vs MI||28 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||MI lost in Super Over|
|KXIP vs MI||1 Oct, Thu (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 48 runs|
|MI vs SRH||4 Oct, Sun (1530)||Sharjah||MI won by 34 runs|
|MI vs RR||6 Oct, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 57 runs|
|MI vs DC||11 Oct, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 5 wickets|
|MI vs KKR||16 Oct, Fri (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 8 wickets|
|MI vs KXIP||18 Oct, Sun (1930)||Dubai||MI lost in Super Over|
|CSK vs MI||23 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||MI won by 10 wickets|
|RR vs MI||25 Oct, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI lost by 8 wickets|
|MI vs RCB||28 Oct, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||MI won by 5 wickets|
|DC vs MI||31 Oct, Sat (1530)||Dubai||MI won by 9 wickets|
|SRH vs MI||3 Nov, Tue (1930)||Sharjah||MI lost by 10 wickets|
|MI vs DC(Qualifier 1)||5 Nov, Wed (1930)||Dubai||MI won by 57 runs|
DC's road to final
|DC vs KXIP||20 Sep, Sun (1930)||Dubai||DC won Super Over|
|CSK vs DC||25 Sep, Fri (1930)||Dubai||DC won by 44 runs|
|DC vs SRH||29 Sep, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||DC lost by 15 runs|
|DC vs KKR||3 Oct, Sat (1930)||Sharjah||DC won by 18 runs|
|RCB vs DC||5 Oct, Mon (1930)||Dubai||DC won by 59 runs|
|RR vs DC||9 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||DC won by 46 runs|
|MI vs DC||11 Oct, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||DC lost by 5 wickets|
|DC vs RR||14 Oct, Wed (1930)||Dubai||DC won by 13 runs|
|DC vs CSK||17 Oct, Sat (1930)||Sharjah||DC won by 5 wickets|
|KXIP vs DC||20 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai||DC lost by 5 wickets|
|KKR vs DC||24 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||DC lost by 59 runs|
|SRH vs DC||27 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai||DC lost by 88 runs|
|DC vs MI||31 Oct, Sat (1530)||Dubai||DC lost by 9 wickets|
|DC vs RCB||2 Nov, Mon (1930)||Abu Dhabi||DC won by 6 wickets|
|MI vs DC(Qualifier 1)||5 Nov, Thu (1930)||Dubai||DC lost by 57 runs|
|SRH vs DC(Qualifier 2)||8 Nov, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||DC won by 17 runs|
|Rohit Sharma||Dhawal Kulkarni||Hardik Pandya||Ishan Kishan|
|Sherfane Rutherford||Jasprit Bumrah||Jayant Yadav||Quinton de Kock|
|Suryakumar Yadav||James Pattinson||Kieron Pollard||Aditya Tare|
|Anmolpreet Singh||Mitchell McClenaghan||Krunal Pandya|
|Chris Lynn||Rahul Chahar||Anukul Roy|
|Saurabh Tiwary||Trent Boult||Digvijay Deshmukh|
|Nathan Coulter-Nile||Prince Balwant Rai Singh|
|Shreyas Iyer||Ishant Sharma (injured)||Axar Patel||Rishabh Pant|
|Prithvi Shaw||Praveen Dubey||Harshal Patel||Alex Carey|
|Shikhar Dhawan||Avesh Khan||R Ashwin|
|Ajinkya Rahane||Sandeep Lamichhane||Lalit Yadav|
|Shimron Hetmyer||Kagiso Rabada||Marcus Stoinis|
|Keemo Paul||Daniel Sams|
Match starts at 1930 IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Disney+Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)